Contact: Kelly Vence
Public Information Office
ELIZABETH, NJ—May 14, 2015 - Mayor J. Christian Bollwage will join city officials, volunteers and residents at the grand opening and ribbon cutting of a brand new playground in Veterans Memorial Park, which will celebrate the dedication of NJ Firefighters on Saturday, May 16, 2015 at 10:30 a.m.
This new playground was built by the “Where Angels Play Foundation,” which was founded by retired Elizabeth Fire Fighter Bill Lavin. The park is being built in remembrance of all those who have lost their life battling a fire and in honor of all of New Jersey's firefighters that continue to put their lives at risk every day.
“In 2012, Hurricane Sandy arrived in Elizabeth with a force unlike any we have seen in our lifetime; it broke our Boardwalk into pieces and washed our Pier away,” said Mayor J. Christian Bollwage. “This new playground not only provides a safe place for our children to play, but it also represents a sense of hope and revival for our Port area.  The impact this will have on our community is tremendous and I would to thank the Where Angels Play Foundation and all of its volunteers who dedicated their time to help build this wonderful play area.”
The Where Angels Play Foundation is a non-profit organization that originated in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy in Newton Connecticut. The goal of the foundation is to build a playground in the areas ravaged by Superstorm Sandy while simultaneously commemorating the twenty (20) children and six (6) teachers who were killed on December 14, 2012. In the end, twenty-six (26) playgrounds all along the coast of three States have been built by firefighters, police officers, teachers, support staff, and volunteers in an attempt to connect two tragedies in a way that people can never forget.  
Approximately one-hundred volunteers from New Jersey and Connecticut gathered on Tuesday and Wednesday to lend a helping hand in building this park. Some have already worked on several park projects prior to this, many from Connecticut who wanted to pay it forward by helping in Elizabeth. 
“When I first became Councilman of the First Ward, my goal was to bring the Elizabethport area to life with new and exciting things,” said Councilman Carlos Torres. “With the help of Bill Lavin and his team of volunteers, we now have this wonderful playground in our community. This park will serve as an inspiration to me, as well as the whole community.” 
The playground will feature slides, walkways, climbing walls and decorative toy replicas of police and fire apparatus. It is located at the Veteran's Memorial Waterfront Park on Front Street and Elizabeth Avenue in Elizabeth. Immediately following the ribbon cutting ceremony, Mayor Bollwage will officially open the Waterfront Recreational Pier for the 2015 Summer Season.
For more information about the Where Angels Play Foundation, please visit